RadioShack Handheld CB Radio with Weather Alert
Another CB Radio Hub! Time for another Hub about CB radios! Hoo-Ray! I love CB radios, and you do too you just don't realize it yet - That's all. Now let us go over the features of the RadioShack TRC-241 Handheld CB Radio.
Top Keys - On the face of the radio, there are five buttons underneath the LCD screen (which we will go over later). Starting on the left side, the buttons are H/L, BEEP; LIGHT; LOCK/ALERT OFF; CB/WX and CH9/19, SCAN. The H/L means High or Low power. Turn it to Low power by pressing this button once, and return to high power by pressing it again. Hold down this button for 3 seconds and the beep will turn off when you press down buttons. 3 more seconds turns the beep back on. The LIGHT button is obvious - it turns on two greenish lights at the bottom of the screen for use in the dark. When the LOCK/ALERT OFF button is held down for three seconds, it acts as a hold button, locking the keys. Pressing it once turns on and off the weather alert, so that if there is nasty weather headed your direction it will automatically go to the weather station for you. The CB/WX key flips back and forth between the standard 40 CB channels and 7 weather channels. When the WX side is engaged it will automatically scan and find the weather station for your area. The CH9/19 SCAN button pressed once will go straight to channel 9, which is used for emergencies only; twice will lead you directly to channel 19 for those of you who don't know already is the most popular channel and you will always hear the most CB chatter on channel 19. When the auto 9/19 channels are selected, the numbers will flash on the screen, to get out of this mode press the button twice if you are on 9 and once more if you are on 19. The second half of this key will scan all forty channels for a signal. Once the signal stops the scan continues. To cancel scanning, just press the channel up or down button on the side of the radio.
Side Keys - The left side of the radio houses three buttons. PTT (Push To Talk), Channel Up and Channel Down. The PTT button is pretty self explanitory - you push and hold down the button to talk to other CB users. However make sure you have the button fully pressed before you begin speaking, make sure you hold down the button while transmitting (otherwise what you say will be cut in half and hard to understand), and be sure to finish talking completely before letting go of the button. The channel up and down keys will scroll through the channels one by one either way you desire. Press it the number of times it takes to reach the channel you want, or hold it down for finding the channel faster and easier.
Top - On the top of the CB radio is the Antenna Jack, Squelch, Volume/Power, and Mic and Speaker inputs. The antenna jack is a BNC connecter that works with the 8" rubber ducky antenna included, or you can purchase a BNC to PL-259 adapter so you can use the radio with a standard CB antenna for astonishingly improved reception and range. To the right of the antnenna input is the squelch knob. Turning this fully clockwise cuts out all of the signal the CB is receiving leaving you with no reception. Turning this fully counter-clockwise lets in the total signal, however there is a terribly annoying static buzz that makes using the radio unpleasant. The best way to set the squelch knob is starting with it fully counter-clockwise and turning it clockwise until the second it stops humming. This lets in the most signal without being unpleasant. The volume knob is simple. Turn the volume down until it clicks will turn the radio off completely.The MIC and SPK inputs are for external speakers for more volume, or an extnernal microphone.
Screen - The easy to read and understand LCD screen on this puppy displays the CB channel or weather channel you are on in big bold numbers on the left side of the screen. On the right, there is a meter to show you how much signal you are getting. Under the signal meter, there is the battery level display. Under the channel number in the far left corner there is a P. SAVE, or power save feature that comes on automatically when there is no activity on the radio, thus saving your battery life. The battery life is outstanding in the first place however. To the right of this, "SCAN" will appear when you are in scan mode. After SCAN, the musical note means the beep is on when you press buttons, and then the key symbol signifies the locked mode.
Other Features - On the back side of the TRC-241 CB radio, there is a belt clip, for hands free listening and transportation. To the right of the screen on the side, there is a loop to put the included wrist strap. There are two separate options for powering the CB radio, both of which are included in the box. The first is a rechargable battery pack that is charged with a power cord (included), and the second is a AA battery pack that holds 8 batteries. The AA battery case is a tad bit smaller than the rechargable one. I have heard people say that this CB radio seems heavy to them, I think it's fine - it feels sturdy. I think the rechargable battery pack is what makes people say it's a little heavy.
My Personal TRC-241 - I love my CB radio. I use it all the time. I have been in love with CB radios ever since I saw Smokey and the Bandit, and once I showed my friends that movie and showed them my CB radio they all want one too! The 8" rubber ducky antenna included is okay for standing outside, but it sucks inside the car. The second I stick the end of the antenna out of the car window on the highway I hear people talking. Obviously, holding a CB radio out of a car window going 65mph while driving, AND try to talk (let alone hear talking over all the wind noise) at the same time is not very bright. So I bought a 27" RadioShack antenna to stick on the top of my car. To do this, I purchased a BNC to PL-259 adapter at the same time so I could hook the antenna to the rubber duck antenna input. I also have an old antenna that's about 40-ish inches tall from around the 70's and bought another BNC to PL-259 adapter for that too. Even if I do not have the CB hooked up to either antenna, I always have at least one antenna on top of my car just be cause it looks cool.
The Final Verdict - Would I recommend this CB radio? YES. However, make sure it fits your needs and what you will use it for. If you are planning on keeping your CB in one car the whole time, then this would be really good! Although, you might want to check out mobile CB radios that install into your cars circuit board. I do not own a mobile CB because I take my CB from car to car, and even on mission trips for entertainment on long 12 hour rides in vans. Even if you wanted to keep a CB in your car at all times, but don't have room for a permanent mobile CB, this is great because it is compact and fits into glove boxes and consoles with ease. I highly suggest you check this CB out if you have been searching for one. Fantastic purchase!